Janesville Parker baseball to rely on starting rotation
You can never have enough of it, especially at the high school level, where Mother Nature can often force teams to play four or five games in a week.
Janesville Parker coach Brian Martin has an influx of pitchers, including four starters who could give the Vikings with the deepest staff in the Big Eight Conference.
“I’d put our top four pitchers against anybody else in the league,” Martin said. “We don’t have that one big stud like Middleton has (Shane Adler), but one through four, I don’t know if there are too many teams better than us.
“If we can score three or four runs in a game, I feel like we should be in pretty good shape with our pitchers. But we’ll see.”
Martin’s starters include juniors Andy Kersten, Kyle Johnson and Trent Kobs, along with senior fireballer Tyler Teubert. Kersten, Kobs and Teubert are right-handers, while Johnson is a left-hander.
“All four bring a little something different to the mound,” Martin said. “Andy has made huge strides from a year ago, and Kyle has looked very strong.
“Teubert was throwing 85-plus (miles per hour) at a combine at Mankato State, and when Trent is on and throwing strikes, he’s tough to hit.”
Parker will need better run production if it hopes to improve upon last season’s 7-20 record. The outfield will have senior Matt Fiedler in right, Kobs in center and senior Josh Garcia in left. Juniors Taran Kobs and Chase Lee, along with junior Zach Harmel, also can play in the outfield.
Sophomore Jake Welch will start at third, with Teubert at shortstop, senior Tanner Moe at second, and Kersten or Johnson at first base. Junior Jeff Henke also is a candidate at first base.
“We bring back all four starters on the infield, so they all know what to expect,” said Martin, who is starting his 10th season as head coach. “They are all a year older and a little bit stronger, so we’re already ahead of where we were last year at this time.
“And with the weather being nice enough to practice outside, we’ve gotten a lot of things done.”
Martin also expects senior Marques Emerson, sophomore Hunter Marshall and junior Conner Long to fill in at times on the infield.
“Defensively, I think we’re going to be fine,” Martin said. “We moved Welch to third where I think he’s a little more comfortable, and Moe to second because he’s got a little more range.
“My main concern is putting the bat on the ball. We’re going to have to go back to playing the old-fashioned way. That means taking one base at a time, bunting guys over and being opportunistic on the base paths.”
Senior Aaron Polzin will start at catcher, with Taran Kobs also expected to play there, especially with three doubleheaders on the schedule.
Despite having four quality starters, Martin also expects Fiedler, Emerson and Garcia to contribute on the mound.
Parker’s schedule, with home games at Riverside Park:
(5 p.m. starting times, unless indicated)
APRIL: 6—Beloit Memorial; 8—Madison East; 13—At Madison West; 15—Portage (at Miller Park), 7 p.m.; 17—Verona (doubleheader), 11 a.m.; 20—Janesville Craig; 22—At Madison La Follette; 27—Madison Memorial; 29—At Middleton; 30—At Oconomowoc, 4:30 p.m.
MAY: 4—At Beloit Memorial; 8—At Sun Prairie (doubleheader), 11 a.m.; 11—At Madison East; 14—At Marshfield Tournament (River Falls), 7:30 p.m.; 15—At Marshfield Tournament (Holmen and Marshfield), 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; 18—At Janesville Craig; 20—Madison La Follette; 21—Milton; 22—At Kenosha Tremper, noon; 25—At Madison Memorial; 27—Middleton.